Dorset County Golf Union

World Handicapping System

"A modern handicap system for all golfers everywhere"

The new World Handicap System (WHS) has been designed to encourage more golfers to obtain a handicap - enabling them to play with, or against, each other anywhere around the world.

The system launched back in November 2020 and after some teething problems has now settled down.  Each club has been sent all the information regarding the new system so they can educate their members. 

The main focus now for clubs is to get there courses and tees sorted and thus there have been numerous calls received on how I get my tees rated etc.…  So a set of instructions have been put together by England Golf and are on this page for you to use.

Course Change Documents have been placed in the side menu providing a range of informative documents regarding changes to courses and course rating. These documents have been developed to give clubs more information on the process for applying change whether permanent or temporary to a course or if they need additional tees adding to the platform or looking to have a new tee rated. Please follow these guides.

For the Change Spreadsheets as per the Documentation please click here

Please note the WHS User Guide has been updated and expanded to cover, some of the most frequently asked questions in the last 12 weeks.

The DCGU will support Clubs in their efforts in educating Members.

Key Features of the WHS

Calculation of Playing Handicap

The number of strokes received during a round will be based on the choice of course, tees and format of play.

Go out and enjoy your Round

Under the new system, golfers should feel like they can simply play and enjoy their round – just the same as always.

Submit your Score

The player should submit their score as soon as practicable after completing the round, preferably before midnight on the day of play for inclusion in the daily Course Conditions Adjustment calculation. This allows a responsive update of the player’s handicap for the next day they play.

There is no real need for golfers to worry about the technical details of the new system. However, for those who are interested – here are some of the highlights:

Minimal Number of Scores to Obtain a Handicap

To encourage new players to the game, National Associations can set the number of holes required to be submitted to obtain a handicap. It is recommended that the minimum number of holes should be 54, in any combination of 9-hole or 18-hole rounds.

Maximum Handicap

Under the new system, the maximum handicap that can be issued to a player of any gender is 54.0.

Acceptable Scores for Handicap Purposes

Singles and Stableford formats of stroke-play competitions must be submitted by all players. National Associations have discretion within their jurisdiction to decide if other acceptable formats of play can be submitted for handicap purposes – giving players plenty of opportunity to submit scores and provide evidence of their potential ability.

Maximum Hole Score

Golfers of all skill levels will occasionally make a high score on a hole, which does not reflect their potential. Under the new system, the maximum score per hole will be limited to Net Double Bogey, which is the equivalent of zero points in Stableford formats.

Course Rating and Slope Rating

Course Rating indicates the difficulty of a golf course for a 0-handicap golfer. Slope Rating is relative to the Course Rating, providing strokes needed to play at the same level as the 0-handicap golfer for a specific set of tees. Course and Slope Ratings enable golfers’ handicaps to be portable from course to course, country to country.

Basis of Handicap Calculation

Averaging the best eight of a player’s most recent 20 scores provides a good indicator of potential ability. When combined with memory of demonstrated ability over time, the resulting handicap provides a balance between responsiveness and control - so a temporary loss of form should not automatically lead to an excessive increase in handicap.

Abnormal Course and Weather Conditions Adjustment

Golf is an outdoor sport and not always played in ideal conditions. The new system will consider the impact of daily course or weather conditions on each golfer’s performance. Such adjustments will be conservative and will only be made when there is clear evidence that an adjustment is warranted.

Accommodating Local Golfing Cultures

It is not our intention to try to force a change on the way that golf is played around the world or to try and remove the variations. The cultural diversity that exists within the game, including different formats of play and degrees of competitiveness, is what makes the sport so universally popular. Through collaboration with National Associations, the goal has been to try to accommodate those cultural differences within a single WHS.



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